Karachi: A day after a 0-4 thrashing from archrival India, Pakistan conceded another 2-4 defeat from host Malaysia, which sent the greenshirts out of the title race in Sultan of Johor Junior Hockey Cup in Johor Bahru, Malaysia on Thursday.
The fourth consecutive win for the host has helped it accumulate 12 points to secure its berth in Sunday’s final along with India, who has also won four straight matches to accumulate inaccessible 12 points lead for the third place Pakistan and other teams.
Pakistan has only six points in its baskets after winning two and losing as many matches. Pakistan would be playing its last league match against Argentina on Saturday.
Malaysia started the match as favourites with some strong showings from its players. Backed by the home crowd, Malaysia forced penalty corners early in the 6th and 7th minutes of the match but eventually failed to capitalize on it.
The forceful show helped the Malaysians gain confidence and they came close to score the lead in the 10th minute, but Farhan Ashaari was a bit too late to take an attempt on the Pakistani goal, as Pakistani defenders cleared the ball from the danger area.
Pakistani colts also tried to put some pressure on the hosts in its do-or-die match. Pakistan’s top scorer in the tournament, Muhammad Dilber put some brilliant show as he broke through the defence and his shot from the edge of the circle raced goalkeeper Muhammad Hafizuddin Othman inches away from the goal in the 13th minute.
Dilber eventually earned his side a 10 lead when he deflected a cross from Muhammad Suleman into the goal in 26th minute of the game.
However, Malaysia took only two minutes to level the arrears when Mohammad Zulhairi Hashim converted a penalty corner, sending his drag flick past Pakistani goalkeeper Mazhar Abbas.
The host took the lead when Shahril Saabah, the joint top scorer with Indian Ramandeep Singh in the event, successfully converted a penalty corner, when his shot hit Mazhar’s pads and crept over the goal line.
Pakistan forced three penalty corners in the 45th, 47th and 48th minutes and the team was finally rewarded when defender Muhammad Tousiq’s third attempt on the goal hit Malaysian skipper Fitri Saari on the foot and were awarded penalty stroke by umpire Grant Hudley. Tousiq converted it to equalize the scoreline at 22.
Malaysia again took the lead in the 52nd minute when Fitri Saari tucked the rebound into the goal after the initial attempt by Shahril was charged down by Pakistani defenders.
Mohammad Syamim Yusof then deflected a cross by Rashid Baharom in the 65th minute into the goal to make it 42, which eventually turned out to be the final scoreline of the match, and a berth for the hosts in the summit clash of the tournament.
Earlier on Thursday, India thrashed South Korea 61, recording its fourth consecutive win in the tournament, and after Malaysia has defeated Pakistan, India has confirmed its place in the climax.